Nieuws Democracy

Nieuws over politieke trainingen en ontwikkelingen in Oost- en Zuidoost Europa, de Kaukasus, Afrika en het Midden Oosten

Syria's President Assad sweeps 'non-election'

This week Syrian President Bashar al-Assad won a new seven-year term with nearly 90 percent of the vote. The elections were only held in the areas that are controlled by the government which are mostly in the north-west of the country, centred around the city of Hama and Damascus. Tens of thousands took to the streets in government-held areas even before the results were announced on 4 June, waving portraits of Assad and the official Syrian flag. The EU has condemned the elections saying that they are “illegitimate and undermine the political efforts to find a solution to this horrific conflict.” They noted people in rebel-held areas could not vote and that state media promoted the incumbent Bashar al-Assad.

General elections to be held in Kosovo

On Sunday 8 June general elections will be held in Kosovo, following an early dissolution of parliament on 7 May. Parliament fell after interethnic bickering let to a legislative stalemate. The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) of ruling Prime Minister Hashim Thaci is expected to win. The new government faces many challenges; foremost are a haltering economy, the strengthening of the fledgling government and judiciary and the integration of the ethnic Serbs.

New offensive in Ukraine

In order to reclaim control over the country’s eastern regions, Ukrainian security forces have started a new offensive against pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas and Luhansk region. The offensive started on Sunday 1 June as government forces marched on the strategic town of Slavyansk, breaking through several roadside barricades. Separatist forces reacted by besieging a government-controlled border camp near the town of Luhansk on Monday 2 June. Thousands of civilians are on the run to escape the violence

European Forum expert meeting in Belgrade

On Saturday 31 May the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity held an expert meeting about the legitimacy of the EU and increasing civil engagement in order to revitalize the EU enlargement process. Researchers, academics and political foundations met in the Serbian capital of Belgrade to discuss these topics as part of the research program ‘Enhancing democracy pre and post EU accession - Citizens’ Europe’.

Poroshenko set to win Ukrainian presidential elections

With a majority of the votes counted, presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko seems to be the new president of Ukraine. Early presidential elections were held in Ukraine on Sunday 25 May as former president Yanukovych was ousted by the EuroMaidan revolution on 22 February. Poroshenko is expected to become president of a country in chaos. Two eastern regions declared independence and are plagued by violence as the country faces bankruptcy. The new president of Ukraine will be tasked with restoring peace and order in the country.

Ethnic violence in Skopje

For the second night in a row, hundreds of Ethnic Macedonians, predominantly youth, clashed with police on the streets of the Macedonian capital Skopje. On the night of 20-21 six police officers were injured and 27 people got arrested. The riots broke out after the alleged murder of an ethnic 19-year-old Macedonian student by an ethnic Albanian on 19 May.

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